Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

Frail Women (1932)

Another Maurice Elvey film from Talking Pictures TV, to go with his Who Goes Next? which I wrote about yesterday. Frail Women is a melodrama that uses the trope of the war baby to explore the themes of illegitimacy and responsibility. Mary was born in 1916, placed in a care home and then adopted by […]

Who Goes Next? (1938)

In this time of plague, self-isolation is probably necessary, but is no less frustrating for that. Still, life offers some consolations, and one of them is Talking Pictures, the Freeview TV channel that specialises in old British films, some of them very obscure. I had never previously come across Who Goes Next? directed in 1938 […]

Influenza advice

In view of the current crisis, I thought it might be helpful to share this advice from the Daily Mail of February 24, 1919:

‘Days beyond compare’

I’m still worrying at Kipling’s story ‘Dayspring Mishandled’. (I shall be giving a paper about it at the Kipling in the News conference in London in April.) It’s a story full of hints and ambiguities. The first paragraph is packed with them: IN the days beyond compare and before the Judgments, a genius called Graydon […]

Plus

Returning readers may notice a difference in the masthead of this blog. I’m now calling it Great War Fiction Plus. The reason is simple. I started the blog back in 2006, when I was just beginning my Ph.D. research. For many years, Great War material was almost all I read. I’m still interested in the […]

A Kipling paper

I’ve just uploaded ‘Kipling’s Military Utopia’, another of my old conference papers. This one was for a conference on Utopias a few years ago, and it considers the slightly odd sort-of-Utopia that Kipling created in ‘The Army of a Dream’, a story serialised in the Morning Post in 1904. Kipling imagines a future Britain in […]

‘The Magnet’ and the Regulation of War Enthusiasm

I’ve been looking through the essays and conference papers that I’ve written over the years, and will be uploading several of them onto this site. The first is one that I gave at a conference a few years ago, where I looked at the Magnet boys’ paper, (which featured stories of Billy Bunter and Greyfriars […]

T.S. Eliot and Nesta Webster

One vast conspiracy! To destroy the social order. Thank God, we have people alive to it! Nesta Webster, a great invigilator – laughed at, at the time. Now T.S. Eliot. You should read T.S. Eliot. One of the Master Minds of our age. A great influence. Restrained, fastidious, and yet a Leader. The Young adore […]

H.G. Wells and the ‘shot at dawn’ theme

H.G. Wells’s The Bulpington of Blup (1932) is one of those novels that creates an unsatisfactory human being as its protagonist, and then uses the war to prove his unsatisfactoriness beyond any doubt. In this case the hero’s faults come close to getting him shot at dawn. Theodore Bulpington (the cumbersome polysyllables of the name […]

On Bookish Students of History

From The Bulpington of Blup (1932) by H.G. Wells: The bookish student of history in the future will find a curious interest in the contrasts between the literature which tells the story of the English going to war on the one hand, a complex, reluctant, voluntary affair, and that which describes the fatalistic acquiescence of […]